“For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the Lord.”
These verses made me start thinking about the principle of cause and effect and the importance of experiencing consequences for bad choices. This, in turn, made me think of the students in my studio who often fail to practice consistently (yes, I have some of those, too!). If a student doesn’t practice diligently in a given week, what is the most effective way for me to respond? If I’m just as pleasant as usual and let them “get away” with a typical lesson or some other fun activity, what does that teach them? That there are no felt consequences for not practicing. Of course, we know that the most serious consequence of not practicing is that the student will not progress as quickly or to as high a level as a student who does practice consistently. But this is hard for students to grasp because they can’t know the extent of the potential they are failing to develop through their lack of practice.
So, I’ve been pondering these thoughts and wondering if my responsibility as a teacher should include some sort of felt consequence for students who don’t practice. And in my ponderings, I began wondering what the #1 factor is that keeps students from practicing consistently. I came up with a variety of possibilities, but finally decided that my best bet was to get input directly from the students. With that in mind, I devised a Practice Survey that I’ve been having each of my students complete – both the practicers and the non-practicers. I thought as long as I was getting feedback, I should find out from the good practicers what it is that motivates them to practice!
The Practice Survey includes two questions:
- What is the #1 reason you don’t practice consistently (5-6 days per week)?
- What is the #1 reason you practice consistently (5-6 days per week)?
Each of the questions is followed by a list of multiple choice answers, including an option for the student to list some other reason. I just instructed students to think of weeks when they do or don’t practice consistently and then answer the question as honestly as possible. It’s been interesting to see the results thus far, and I’m looking forward to compiling all of them and sharing the feedback with the parents to see what insights and/or ideas they might have for all of us working together to help the students develop more consistent practice habits!